Well that was a well shot and exciting episode and probably ties in with where the end of the books is going to go. However, it was ultimately completely out of the blue in terms of character development for Daenerys Targaryen and it completely destroyed one of the best character arcs in TV history with Jaime Lannister. So let’s get into what happened.
The show begins with Tyrion turning in Varys for treason as he remains loyal to Dany. Jon also backs Tyrion, as he doesn’t want to be a King and refused Varys’s approach. Dany, of course, does what she promised and torches Varys to death. She then decides that Jon has betrayed her by telling people about his lineage when she commanded him not to, and thus Sansa told Tyrion and Tyrion told Varys, so it’s kinda Jon’s fault that Varys died. Aaaaand so we get into Daenerys essentially throwing her entire character out the window over the course of the last two episodes in favor of dramatically making her the villain. This didn’t work for me at all, but we shall get there.
After the death of Varys, and blaming Jon for it, Tyrion Lannister discovers his brother has been captured trying to sneak through the lines to get to King’s Landing. Tyrion sneaks in and releases him with the understanding that he tries to get Cersei to give up and save thousands of lives. They agree to ring the bells if they have given up and this will be the signal for Daenerys to take the throne peacefully.
Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane are also heading to King’s Landing, with Arya looking to kill Cersei and Sandor to kill his brother Gregor Clegane, The Mountain. Meanwhile, the attack on King’s Landing begins as Euron’s fleet suddenly forgets how to fire their scorpions and Dany torches the fleet to ashes on Drogon. She then moves through the city methodically taking out the scorpions to weaken their defenses, and again no one seems able to fire a single bolt in Drogon’s direction. Here we have another piece of inconsistent writing, as the dragons look really vulnerable when it suits the writers and overpowering when it suits them to be overpowering, in other words, the universe is bent to fit the plot and not the other way around.
As Dany torches the Golden Company (we basically didn’t even get to see them fight), the armies of Daenerys led by Jon, Grey Worm, and Davos move through the city defeating Cersei’s troops. However, at one point, the armies are all paused looking at each other and despite Jaime not getting to her, the bells are rung finally to indicate the Lannisters have surrendered. And this is also the moment where Game of Thrones jumped the shark and became a lukewarm watered down piece of trash. Daenerys has won, she is victorious, but for some reason, which is simply never explained, she decides to just keep torching King’s Landing and she levels it to the ground, something I predicted, but I expected some sort of motivation for it.
Yes, the woman who freed all the slaves and was quite the just ruler of Mereen, the person who chained up her own dragons because they killed one small girl is now torching women, children and thousands of non-combatants in the streets, and leveling King’s Landing to the ground. Her newfound paranoia from one episode ago is apparently enough for the writers to decide that audiences will believe this turn of Daenerys from one of the shows big heroes, to the main villain, who has now done worse than the Night King or Cersei ever did.
We could all see it coming this season, but like everything else since the end of Season 6, there simply isn’t enough time left for character development, and so we get a character going way outside their normal behavior for dramatic effect instead of proper character development. I am totally ok with Daenerys going mad and being a bad queen, but they needed at least another season to develop her into this person, because the Dany of weeks ago simply would never have done this. We also now know why they killed Rhaegal last week, as a flimsy excuse to explain her turn and to deny Jon the possibility of stopping Dany whilst riding Rhaegal, that’s not good writing.
We should have had this season being the threat of the dead and then a full season more, to deal with the slow descent of Dany into madness and paranoia. Once you get to the end, you realize the important part was the journey, and Dany’s journey just doesn’t prepare you enough for this dramatic change of persona. Not to mention that the Northern Armies, the Unsullied, and the Dothraki all go crazy and start butchering and raping civilians, with a Northern Jon pulls off a woman even attempting to attack him. Are we supposed to believe this soldier would attack his own commander and former King?
Whilst Dany is in full on “burn them all” Mad King mode, Clegane tells Arya to get away as his path leads only to death, Arya thanks him and heads off while Sandor gets ready to set Cleganebowl in motion. I loved the beginning of the fight as The Mountain ignores Cersei and kills Qyburn to get to The Hound. They fight and although Sandor stabs him several times, the undead Mountain just takes it, in order to kill his brother, Sandor is forced to push him off of the castle into their fiery deaths below.
Cersei stumbles through the wreckage until she finds Jaime, who has just had an inexplicable battle with Euron Greyjoy, who was killed by Jaime. Honestly, That scene was pure farce and was followed by the writers’ absolute destruction of one of the best character arcs in TV history, as they simply reverse Jaime back into a silly lapdog for his sister and they both die embracing as the castle falls around them. Now, I do not think for one minute that this is how Jaime will end in the books.
For a start, we have the Valonqar prophecy which the show did miss out, but is still active in the books. I mean, how can the writers not see they have just reversed a 10-year character arc, so the point where he is basically back where he started? This was the most unforgivable thing that has happened in Game of Thrones and perhaps any show I’ve become attached to. I expected a controversial end that not everyone would like, but this is just bad writing of a character they clearly do not understand. At the end of Season 7, Jaime finally realized what Cersei was and left her, then after having a fight with the dead and bedding Brienne he goes back to die with her. Wouldn’t it have been more dramatic to have him kill Cersei, and thus surrender the city by doing so, because she was willing to let everyone burn?
Anyway, Dany keeps on a-burning, even when everyone seems dead, Arya is almost killed 30 times in minutes, Jon is standing looking at horror. Actually, I like to think Jon is the audience here watching on and wondering why none of this makes any sense so suddenly. The episode ends with Jon taking his people back out the city and Arya finding a horse, which is clearly indicating her role as death, (as in a pale white horse) and the episode ends.
So if this episode had happened after a season of Daenerys going mad it would be brilliant, it’s beautifully shot. However, within the confines of this short season, it simply doesn’t work on any level for me and the destruction of Jaime Lannister’s arc is actually one of the most unforgivable crimes I’ve seen on TV.
Yep, Game of Thrones just jumped the dragon and shot itself in the face. In fact, I’m so angry about all this I have nothing to write about in this week’s Game of Theories. I actually don’t care what happens next. I think I might wait until next week and then analyze where this show went wrong for a final Game of Theories instead.
Until then check out the preview trailer below, if you can be bothered?